In his sophomore year of high school, Jason J. Armond enrolled in his first photography class. He had been curious about photography before, but, after he started that class, he said, there was no going back.
“I never put down a camera ever since then,” Jason, 30, said.
Born and raised in Wilmington, N.C., Jason said he was surrounded by photography. He recalls going to summer camp and being enthralled by the staff photographers’ long lenses.
After graduating from high school, Jason worked as a freelance photographer but soon grew bored of shooting the same types of assignments. He also wanted to be the first in his family to go to college.
“I really wanted to have a broad foundation so I can be more competitive in finding employment,” Jason said.
Jason earned his associate degree at Cape Fear Community College and transferred to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2017, where he began as a staff photographer for The Daily Tar Heel, while working 40 hours a week at the Carolina Inn.
He experienced some speed bumps, having to juggle working full time at a hotel and also covering breaking news.
“Being at work and always having to have a camera in my car and begging to get off work because something’s happening a couple of blocks away,” Jason said, “it was just like so stressful.”
The balancing act paid off, though: Jason graduated in May with a bachelor’s degree in media and journalism.
At U.N.C., Jason covered the controversy over Silent Sam, a Confederate monument on campus that was taken down by protesters.
He also traveled to Colombia to cover the Venezuelan migration crisis for a course.
He said the work was broader than just the act of shooting a picture.
“There's something more than just going out taking a photo,” Jason said. “It’s people’s lives that you have the pleasure of being a part of.”